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Morton of Pitmilly prepares to increase foodie-themed breaks

MORTON of Pitmilly Countryside Resort is drawing up plans to expand its foodie-themed breaks as well as making a greater push into the corporate event market as it attempts to grow turnover by 20%.

The self-catering site in Fife, which has a range of properties on a farm estate at Kingsbarns outside St Andrews, wants to increase turnover from £500,000 to £600,000 in the financial year to the end of November 2014.

Eilidh Smith has been working with Fife Food Ambassador Christopher Trotter - the pair met on Scottish Enterprise's Rural Leadership programme - to design holiday packages aimed at food lovers.

While Ms Smith said no dates for 2014 have yet been confirmed the plan is to offer a seafood themed break along with a "wild and natural" one featuring foraging.

Mr Trotter, who is a chef and writer, will also offer demonstrations and cooking sessions using produce sourced from around Fife.

Roe deer supplier Woodmill Shootings, Pittenweem fish merchant David Lowrie and farm shops Balgove Larder and Pillars Of Hercules have also been lined up to be involved.

Ms Smith, who runs the company along with her stepfather John Parker, said bespoke breaks will also be on offer.

She said: "Really we want to do different types of special- ity breaks at different times of the year to bring people to the area.

"It's a long-term strategy however as there is huge benefit to ourselves in building up our market as a foodie destination, which is another important string to our bow.

"The benefit to the area in subsequent tourist spend should also be quite significant and so we do feel that we are doing what we can to promote the world class larder of this amazing part of Scotland."

Other types of breaks which Morton of Pitmilly is planning to provide are ones catering for people with interest in tennis, nature and photography.

Ms Smith said that the business had previously taken bookings from corporate customers almost by default but there is now a far greater concentration on breaking into that potentially lucrative segment.

She said: "We are now going out to that market with a proper offering.

"Where we are winning with that is we are a fresh option for people and probably more cost effective than some of the bigger places they may have gone in the past."

Ms Smith commented that the majority of customers come from Scotland although she does expect some international visitors to book during the Ryder Cup in 2014.

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